Start by getting proactive. ID Theft Prevention is ID Theft Protection.
The best place to start protecting your credit is with a fresh credit report. Your credit report is the hub for all of your financial information. If there’s a problem with your credit or if you’ve been a victim of identity theft, it will be reflected in your credit report. You can obtain a copy of your credit report safely and securely by clicking here.
Because of the increased threat of identity theft, many credit reporting experts are recommending that consumers do credit check-ups every 4 to 6 months. Many consumers are employing the services of credit monitoring agencies, so they are immediately alerted, should anything out of the ordinary show up on a credit report. You can read more about credit monitoring by clicking here.
1. Contact the police and report the identity theft.
Be sure you’ve written down all details pertaining to your case, so you leave nothing out. Provide any and all documentation, including any debt collection notices, credit reports, evidence of fraud, and a notarized identity theft Affidavit from the Federal Trade Commission.
This is not the kind of crime that the police really want to handle. You must be persistent and demonstrate the proof of your claim clearly and concisely. The major credit bureaus will only block the fraudulent accounts from your credit report if you provide a police report. If your local police will not take your case, report the fraud to your county or state police. If you live in a state where ID theft is not a crime under state law, you can file an “incident report.”
2. Place a fraud alert on your credit reports by contacting a credit bureau and review your credit reports. When the credit bureau has confirmed your fraud alert, the other two bureaus will be automatically notified to place a fraud alert on your credit report. You will also receive all three credit reports free of charge. Review your reports carefully. Look for the following signs of identity theft:
Fraud hotline: 1-800-525-6285 Fraud Assistance Division: P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
Fraud hotline: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742) Fraud Victim Assistance: P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013
Fraud hotline: 1-800-680-7289 Fraud Victim Assistance: P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
3. Close any accounts that you feel contain fraudulent information.
Credit accounts include any account with a bank, credit card company, lender, utility company, Internet service provider or other home/business service provider.
Complete an ID Theft Affidavit, which is a form used to report fraud to many companies where a new account was opened in your name. Developed by the FTC in conjunction with banks, credit grantors and consumer advocates, the ID Theft Affidavit is accepted by credit issuers, retailers, banks, and other financial institutions. For a copy of the ID Theft Affidavit, log on to www.consumer.gov/idtheft/affidavit.htm, or call 1-877-IDTHEFT.
TeleCheck – 1-800-710-9898 Certegy, Inc. – 1-800-437-5120
4. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the most vigilant government resource when it comes to fighting identity theft. The FTC keeps an updated and secure database of identity theft complaints which law enforcement officials use to hunt down ID thieves. The FTC can also provide support and guidance for both business and consumer victimization.
To file a complaint or learn more about the FTC, contact them on the most convenient method below: http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft
Identity Theft Clearinghouse Federal Trade Commission 600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW Washington, DC 20580.